ChildFund, formerly known as Christian Children's Fund, is a child development organization based in Richmond, Virginia, United States. It provides assistance to deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in 30 countries, including the United States.
ChildFund provides services to children, mostly funded by individual contributors in the form of monthly child sponsorships. In addition, ChildFund says it receives grants and donations that support vocational training, literacy training, food distribution, educational programs, early childhood development, health and immunization programs, nutritional programs, water and sanitation development, and emergency relief in both man-made and natural disasters.
The organization is known for its TV commercials on major networks in the United States. The commercials include photographs and videos of impoverished children in developing countries, and often feature actor Alan Sader. A previous long-running series of advertisements had featured actress Sally Struthers as spokeswoman, who around the same time also did commercials for International Correspondence Schools. It was also known for its Christmas commercials that featured the song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)".
ChildFund was founded on October 6, 1938, as China's Children Fund by Presbyterian minister J. Calvitt Clarke to aid Chinese children displaced by the Second Sino-Japanese War. As the mission expanded to other countries, the name was changed on February 6, 1951 to Christian Children's Fund.
In June 2002, Christian Children's Fund and 11 other international child sponsorship organizations founded a worldwide network, ChildFund Alliance. The ChildFund Alliance comprises twelve organizations that partner to improve the lives of children and their families in 55 countries. Alliance members meet organizational standards of governance, fundraising and fiscal responsibility. The partnership fosters opportunities for pooled resources and collaborative activities to reach more children in need. The ChildFund Alliance includes the following members:
On July 1, 2009, Christian Children's Fund changed its name to ChildFund International. The name change took into consideration donor confusion and followed reports that CCF was no longer functioning as a Christian organization.
Individual sponsors contribute funds on a monthly basis. Sponsor funds are combined to benefit entire communities. Each country's office is free to develop its own programs based on the needs of local communities, but common programs include day care programs, medical care, clean water, and nutrition education. ChildFund encourages sponsors to correspond with children through letters and photographs. Sponsored children or their family members also can send letters to sponsors. The organization recently introduced an electronic correspondence program. The letters are translated by representatives of the organization. Sponsors also receive annual progress reports and updated photographs of their sponsored children. Sponsors can travel to meet their sponsored children but must undergo a background check.
Charity Navigator lists ChildFund as having $90,540,544 in assets. ChildFund's president, Anne Lynam Goddard, received $259,484 in compensation in 2011.
ChildFund releases a number of publications every quarter to six months, including ChildWorld magazine, ChildWire e-newsletter, and an annual report. The newsletter is sent to subscribers every month via e-mail.
In 2008, CCF was reported to have turned down a $17,398 donation from GenCon Live Game Auction, which took place in August at Gen Con, a role-playing and board games convention. The donation was made in honor of Gary Gygax, who died in 2008, and who was a frequent donor to CCF. Some individuals within the gaming community expressed disappointment about the decision; prominent author and game designer Rich Burlew, for example, called it "insulting," and the response by gamers led both the CCF and Gen Con to issue official statements explaining what had happened. When questioned, the CCF replied that reasons for the rejection included "the possible misinterpretation of CCF’s role in regard to the event. ... The information presented to us gave the appearance that CCF (the organization) was an endorser or supporter of the event instead of a beneficiary." A later statement issued by a representative of Gen Con explained that Gen Con had contacted CCF before the convention was held in August, and asked permission to use CCF promotional materials, which they believed CCF declined to provide because of Gen Con's association with the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons; after that, according to the statement, Gen Con chose to support a different charity in 2008 before becoming clear on the charity's actual position.